Every few games, someone in the media horde will ask. And every few games, Bob Hartley will have a similar response.
Have they decided on a number-one netminder? No. They have two number-ones.
All due respect to Coach Hartley, but that’s simply not true based on the way the goalies are being used.
When the season began, unlike last season, you could make an argument that Hartley was trying to evaluate his goaltenders and get some competition brewing. (Last season, the year began with stretches of multiple starts for Joey MacDonald and Karri Ramo, and later for Reto Berra.)
Let’s break it down into Hartley’s lauded seven-game segments:
- Segment 1 (Games 1-7): Hiller gets four starts, Ramo gets three starts.
- Segment 2 (Games 8-14): Hiller gets five starts, Ramo gets two starts. (Hiller has a five-game starting run beginning here.)
- Segment 3 (Games 9-21): Hiller gets five starts, Ramo gets two starts. (Hiller’s five-game run concludes; Ramo gets pulled from a start.)
- Segment 4 (Games 22-28): Ramo gets six starts, Hiller gets one start. (This segment features a five-game run for Ramo, which coincided with the Flames losing streak ending and Hartley rewarding him.)
- Segment 5 (Games 29-35): Hiller gets five starts, Ramo gets two starts. (Back to normal! Hiller begins a seven-game starting run here).
- Segment 6 (Games 36-42): Hiller gets six starts, Ramo gets one start. (Hiller’s seven-game run ends here. Ramo gets a start but leaves due to an injury, so Hiller actually plays in every game of this segment.)
- Segment 7 (Games 43-49): Ortio gets five starts, Hiller gets two starts. (Joni Ortio is recalled and goes five straight, getting pulled in his final game. Hiller gets his net back and begins a string of eight straight starts.)
- Segment 8 (Games 50-56): Hiller gets six starts, Ramo gets one start. (Hiller concludes a string of eight straight starts by getting pulled in his final game.)
- Segment 9 (Games 57-): Ramo gets one start, so far, and gets yanked. Hiller is expected to start against Minnesota tonight.
We’ve had eight full seven-game segments so far this season. Hiller has started the majority of the games in six of these segments. Let’s put it another way: Hiller has started nearly twice as many games (34 versus 18) as Karri Ramo. That’s pretty decisive.
To be blunt: Bob Hartley’s “we have two number ones!” argument holds no water.